Red Line Report: Portland Timbers move into playoff position, while Toronto FC move to No. 2 in East

On a day that saw Toronto FC secure their first playoff berth, the Portland Timbers came away as the biggest winners in the race for the Audi 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs.

The Timbers visited Real Salt Lake on Wednesday night in a pivotal match in the Western Conference playoff race and came away with all three points. The win puts RSL on the brink of elimination and makes the Timbers heavy favorites to claim a playoff spot out West.

As mentioned above, Toronto are in the playoffs for the first time in club history after beating the New York Red Bulls. The win also put them in second place in the Eastern Conference, which would mean a bye past the Knockout Round.

The night's third game provided some Mauro Díaz magic as FC Dallas beat the Vancouver Whitecaps 2-0. Dallas are now tied with the Red Bulls atop the Supporters' Shield standings and have all but secured a spot in the Western Conference Semifinals.

Does your team sit above or below the red line? Check out the current standings and the new 2015 playoff rules. Then take a gander at the current playoff scenarios. Here's how things would stand if the regular season ended today:

EASTERN CONFERENCE (Seed in parentheses)

Byes to Conference Semifinals:
(1) New York Red Bulls, (2) Toronto FC

Conference Knockout Round Matches:
(3) D.C. United vs. (6) Montreal Impact
(4) New England Revolution vs. (5) Columbus Crew SC

WESTERN CONFERENCE (Seed in Parentheses)

Byes to Conference Semifinals:
(1) FC Dallas, (2) LA Galaxy

Conference Knockout Round Matches:
(3) Vancouver Whitecaps vs. (6) Portland Timbers
(4) Sporting Kansas City vs. (5) Seattle Sounders

Will the playoff matchups and Shield standings hold through the final weekend of the season? Take a look at the table below, which illustrates each team's remaining matches and the strength of schedule.

The strength of schedule metric takes into account the average points per game (PPG) each team's oppponents earn at home and on the road. The lower the PPG, the easier the schedule.

For example, if FC Dallas traveled to play the LA Galaxy, who have averaged 2.5 PPG at home, and then hosted the Vancouver Whitecaps, who have averaged 1.53 PPG on the road, their opponents PPG would be 2.02.

Road to the Playoffs

Team

Games Remaining
Easiest Strength of Schedule Rank (Opp. PPG)
Eastern Conference
New York Red Bulls 2 (PHI, @CHI) 7 (1.19)
Toronto FC 2 (CLB, @MTL) 14 (1.60)
D.C. United 2 (CHI, @CLB) 2 (1.03)
New England Revolution 2 (MTL, @NYC) 3 (1.10)
Columbus Crew SC 2 (@TOR, DC) 13 (1.54)
Montreal Impact 2 (@NE, TOR) T-11 (1.50)
Orlando City SC 2 (NYC, @PHI) 5 (1.13)
Western Conference
FC Dallas (@RSL, SJ) T-9 (1.38)
LA Galaxy (POR, @SKC) T-17 (1.69)
Vancouver Whitecaps (HOU) 1 (.69)
Sporting Kansas City (@SJ, COL, LA) 4 (1.12)
Seattle Sounders (@HOU, RSL) T-9 (1.38)
Portland Timbers (@LA, COL)  T-17 (1.69)
San Jose Earthquakes (SKC, @DAL) T-17 (1.69)
Houston Dynamo (SEA, @VAN) 8 (1.29)
Real Salt Lake 2 (DAL, @SEA) T-11 (1.50)

Will your team make the playoffs? Tell us why (or why not) in the comments below.

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